If you are chasing bass from the shore, then it’s more than likely that at one point or another you will be fishing over fairly shallow, rough and weedy ground. In the past this terrain proved a challenge for the lure angler, as piece of metal or deep-diving plugs simply got hung up in the snags.
However, there is now a huge variety of modern, hi-tech lures on the market that are designed to run within a foot or two of the surface. These have really opened up a huge amount of possibilities for the roving lure angler and below I have taken a look at a few that I think are worth a spot in your tackle box.
IMA Komomo SF 125 (Floating)
Measuring 125mm and weighing 16g this is perhaps one of the most common plugs to be thrown at bass around our coastlines. It has a unique appearance, with a slanted face as opposed to a conventional bib – it is this unique design that allows the lure to swim in the top 30 centimetres of the water column.
However, raise your rod high and crank slowly and the lure will sit just beneath the surface film with a tight rolling and wobbling action. When the lure is stopped it will sit almost vertical in the water and float slowly to the surface.
Don’t be fooled by its weight, though, as being 16g it casts extremely well due to cleverly designed internal weights, and as for the action… well, let’s just say I don’t carry two or three in my box for nothing!
It works well in most scenarios but when things start to chop and liven up a bit then it tends to lose balance. This is when I would then switch over to a hard bait, which digs or grips in, or else, as you will see later, select a sinking lure.
In terms of colour selection, well it is pretty extensive but I like to carry a Cotton Candy, Ghost Anchovy and AYU patterns.
Tackle House Feed Shallow 128 (Floating)
The Feed Shallow has become almost a cult lure in the bass fishing world as it was one of the first modern, high-end plugs imported from Japan on to our markets, and while many people have moved on to newer things I still hold this plug in high regard. And the reason? It catches me fish!
Despite weighing 18.5g it can be a little bit fussy to cast, depending on your rod and casting style. I find a slower push and a more through-action rod gets better results than fast, snappy casts. This is due to the magnetic weight transfer system, which sometimes fails to engage; but don’t be put off, when you get it right it thumps out nicely and on a simple retrieve it looks stunning in the water.
This was one of the first hi-tech bass lures I owned; in fact, I still have the original HG Sardine Red Belly today and it keeps producing fish despite having had virtually all the paint shredded off it!
The sides of the lure’s body are designed to be as flat as possible and it has a flashy, iridescent appearance that enhances its appeal. It performs energetically just below the surface water, five to 30 centimetres deep, giving you a bit of flexibility.
Colourwise I like the HG Sardine Red Belly, and when fishing over kelp the Ochiayu performs extremely well as in my opinion it imitates small pollack.
Dice Rada Minnow 114 (Sinking)
With this choice I am going a little ‘off piste’ as it is a sinking, shallow runner, which people often don’t understand. Basically it swims in the top 30 centimetres when retrieved; however, once stopped it will slowly sink, returning to 30 centimetres once the retrieve is resumed.
“What use it that?” you say. Well, in rough water the turmoil can spit out some shallow diving lures because they don’t get a chance to ‘grip in’. With the Dice Rada Minnow you simply allow the lure to sink through the chaos and then start to retrieve. It will therefore be able to penetrate the fizz and run underneath the wave motion.
As a tackle tart this lure really ticks the boxes as the paint finish is sublime and it comes with ‘dead white’ fish eyes, which give it a unique appearance.
It has an amazing mixture or a rolling and side-to-side swimming action and a well engineered weight transfer system means the Rada Minnow 114 casts like a rocket.
Nama Candy is a good colour for most conditions but the INA pattern is a great mullet imitation and works well when the water is clear.
Gunki Atragon 175 (Floating)
Last but not least I’ve picked the Gunki Atragon due to its size and just general value for money. Gunki is a brand better known in mainland Europe for its freshwater predator gear, but this lure jumped out at me when I was flicking through its catalogue last season.
Most of my bass plugs are between 120 and 140mm long but I do like to carry some larger lures with me, especially later in the season when things get a bit rougher and I am generally targeting bigger fish.
This plug measures a whopping 175mm and weighs 27g, making it a good contender for distance and fishing into stiff headwinds. The Fluo Silver AYU colour is also a great imitation of large sandeel or launce and offers a great big meal to a lazy big bass.
Okay, it isn’t as shiny and hi-tech as the other choices, but for the money it is a really top bait and has produced some nice fish for me, even when put alongside some similar large lures that cost a good £8 to £10 more. Certainly worth a look for the adventurous.
Everyone has their own favourites and most of these come down to simple confidence. For me, I know I have a few lures that I will never leave the house without, because if I do I will feel like I am missing a trick.
Over time you will find some lures come and go, while others will carve out and earn a spot in your box – after three or four seasons if there is a model that is still making the grade you know it’s earned its place.
If nothing else, it is a good excuse to get out and buy some more shiny toys to ‘test’ and carry out some extensive ‘studies’ to see how effective they are… well, that’s how I justify my spending anyway!
Check these out and maybe some will make their way into your lure box, and hopefully smash you some nice bass along the way.
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